Practice makes perfect when it comes to your liquid soap. Photo courtesy of flickr user arenamontanus.
This post covers off on just one of the many soap making methods available to you as a soap maker. Please click here to read our full, comprehensive post on the various options, with benefits and drawbacks, breakdowns of the process and much more covered for all the most popular soap making methods.
Many soap making hobbyists start out by making bars of solid soap, because it is a fairly simple and straightforward process. Making liquid soap can be a bit trickier and takes some practice, but it is just as much fun and your final product is just as useful.
Knowing the basic soap making method for solid bar soap first is certainly a bonus. This is especially so as one of the more popular methods of making liquid soap involves making it from bars of solid soap, and the other is very similar to the hot process soap making method.
When making liquid soap, different ingredients are required than those you would use for solid bar soap. The type of lye typically used to produce bars of solid soap is sodium hydroxide, or NaOH. Potassium hydroxide, or KOH, is usually used to make liquid soap, because the soap produced with KOH is inherently softer than that produced with NaOH. Also, the varieties of fat used to make liquid soap are different.
There are two varieties of fats: saturated, and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, and make a much harder bar; unsaturated are very soft solids or liquids at room temperature, and make much softer ones. As you might have guessed, unsaturated fats are the ones typically used in the process of making liquid soap.
There are two processes for making good liquid soap.
Liquid Soap Method #1
One process is quite similar to the cold process soap making method for solid bars; however instead of curing your soap after removing it from the molds, it should be cut up into small pieces, or grated.
The pieces can then be melted with water in a double-boiler; the ratio should be one cup of soap to three cups of water. (Click here for more information on soap making equipment).
Heat on medium, and stir regularly until soap is melted – if there are chunks that won’t melt, simply remove them from the mixture.
If the melted soap is too viscous, add more water until the mixture achieves the desired consistency.
Liquid Soap Method #2
The other way to make liquid soap is to make it via the hot process soap method.
Mix the oils and lye as you would in the cold process soap method; it may take a very long time to trace, so be patient. When it does trace, it may be a little thinner than regular cold process soap.
Cook it in a crock pot or over a double-boiler for 3 to 4 hours, stirring every half hour. It will go through many stages; at its final stage, it will be translucent and creamy.
To check and see if the soap has cooked long enough, mix one ounce of the soap with two ounces of boiling water. If the mixture is milky or very cloudy once the soap has dissolved, it needs to cook longer. If cooking the soap longer doesn’t make it clearer, one of the ingredients may have been measured incorrectly.
If it is clear, or only slightly cloudy, then the soap should be ready.
Liquid soap can be prone to spoilage, so glycerin or another oil containing vitamin A, C or E should be added to help preserve it.
Store your liquid soap in a cool, dark place, inside a pump or flip-top bottle to further guard against spoilage. Use the soap within 6 to 8 months, and dispose of it if it becomes cloudy, or smells rancid.
Remember to click here to read our full, comprehensive post covering all the most popular soap making methods including hot process, cold process, melt and pour, rebatching and more.
Take the next step
Make sure you download our FREE comprehensive beginners guide, ‘How To Make Soap At Home’, by clicking here.
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